Weekend Preview: Conf. tournaments begin
Postseason play officially begins in some conferences around the nation, as the NCAA tournament draws closer in women’s Division I soccer.
Preview what to know this weekend (all kickoff times list EST)
Campus sites host the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament on Sunday, and all games are set to be broadcast on the ACC Network. NC State’s trip to Louisville arguably carries the most intrigue, with the two sides playing Thursday night where the Wolfpack triumphed by a 1-0 score. Of the eight teams in the field, Notre Dame is perhaps closet to the bubble when considering their at-large chances; an upset win at Carolina would certainly seal the deal.
How Virginia is unable to unlock a defensive-minded Duke could turn the game into a tactically interesting battle. The Blue Devils have masterminded the draw, with seven on the season, including a 0-0 draw between these two sides earlier this year in Charlottesville. UVA will fancy their chances of not just winning this one, but the conference tournament as well.
Big Ten quarterfinals
Higher seeds host Sunday’s quarterfinal games in the Big Ten, with all four matchups carrying intrigue. Even Rutgers can’t assume that a visiting Indiana will be easy to dispatch, as the Hoosiers have made serious strides under new head coach Erwin van Bennekom.
Matchup of the round is easily Iowa’s trip to Penn State. The Hawkeyes have enjoyed a stellar season, led by a senior crop seeking a trip to the NCAA tournament. Injuries have ravaged the Nittany Lions, but they finished the season strong with a six-game winning streak. The two sides haven’t played each other in 2019, adding another layer of intrigue.
Big 12 quarterfinals
Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City, Missouri will host two weekends of the Big 12 tournament, kicking off on Sunday with a quartet of games on ESPN+. The Cowgirls held off Texas Tech to capture the regular season title, and the two top seeds are easily the favorites in this field. Those two, plus Kansas and perhaps even West Virginia look to be the safest on paper when discussing at-large possibilities. Stakes are highest for Texas and TCU, with both on the bubble at No. 46 and No. 51 in the RPI before Thursday night’s games.
Watching the WCC race
Two games are under the microscope in the West Coast Conference chase on Saturday, as the race for the conference’s automatic bid could come down to the final weekend. BYU travels to San Francisco, holding on to first place with a 5-0-1 record. The Dons can haul themselves closer to the Cougars with a win, but it’s Santa Clara, which sits two points behind BYU, that can jump ahead should the conference leaders drop points. The Broncos host Loyola Marymount, as they look to get their attack ramped up and primed for a deep conference tournament run.
Any Ivy League intrigue?
Currently sitting atop the Ivy League with a 5-0 record in conference play, Brown looks to stay atop the standings when Penn pays a visit to Providence with two games left in the regular season. A win against the Quakers would clinch at least a share of the Ivy League title, as they hold a three-point lead on Yale and Harvard respectively. In theory, if Harvard falls to Dartmouth at home and the Bulldogs taste defeat away to Columbia, then Brown could be crowned Ivy League champions on Saturday. The former seems unlikely, as the Big Green are winless on the season in Ivy play. Either way, the results could set things up for an exciting final day next weekend.